Sony Electronics unveiled a trio of premium noise-canceling headphones at IFA 2017 in Berlin that are second-generation variations within the company’s 1000X series.
Shigeru Kumekawa, president of Sony Europe, said the line includes two new styles besides the traditional on-ear headphone design: a behind-the-neck model and “truly wireless” ear buds. All offer a world’s first, according to Kumekawa: Adaptive Sound Control technology, which automatically changes the setting or mode of the headphone based on the listener’s activity.
JP Torres, Sony’s content development trainer, who presented the models in advance of the show to the press in a New York City-held briefing, said that headphone series had been expanded this way “to offer every form-factor option” in this line. Dunja LaRosa, head of Sony’s mobile audio business, home entertainment and sound, said that these new headphones were the result of “doing research on consumer needs relating to sound quality, comfort, noise cancellation, app development and ambient sound needs.”
The new WH-1000XM2 on-ear-style headphones ($349.99; September availability), offer Hi-Res Audio support in a wired configuration. They have also been priced $50 lower than their predecessor, with more features, he said. Battery life is 30 hours with the noise-cancellation feature on, and the model will gain 70 minutes’ usage after a 15-minute quick charge. Its all-new DSEEHX Digital Sound Enhancement Engine will serve to “re-energize” compressed music, said Torres; smart auto settings include Ambient Sound Mode, which customizes settings to surrounding acoustics in real time; via the new Sony Headphones Connect app, the user’s activities or at-rest times are automatically sensed with noise cancellation levels tailored accordingly. A unique feature, Atmospheric Pressure Optimization, will automatically compensate for the changes in air pressure that are experienced during an airplane’s descent.
The Model WI-1000X ($299.99; September) behind-the-neck-style noise canceling headphones offer NFC pairing capability, 10 hours of battery life, hard-wired Hi-Res Audio support and a stainless steel neckband. They also feature Hybrid Drive (dynamic 9mm drive/balanced armature driver) design and Atmospheric Pressure Optimization.
THE WF-1000X ($199.99; September) ear buds automatically power on when removed from their charger chase, and operate uninterrupted on three hours of battery life. The case also serves as their fast-charger, holding a charge in itself. Multi-function single buttons are designed on each side. Torres said that Sony, to date is the only company doing noise cancellation in this form factor.
Also new here, for October introduction, is the LF-S50G mini barrel-shaped speaker with built-in Google Assistant technology and 360-degree sound ($199). It is designed with a specialized port, and a downward-firing woofer and upward-firing tweeter; finger gesture control is enabled atop the speaker, and there is a time display that peeks through the IPX3-rated splash-proof, washable grille sleeve that encases the speaker.
At the other end of the size spectrum, Sony is introducing a five-foot-six-inch high-powered “party” GoogleCast speaker system with stacked drivers (Model MHC-V90W; $1,299.99; October) that bears a more-than-passing resemblance to Darth Vader and has built-in back wheels for easy transporting. Further, it is daisy-chainable with other V90Ws. Its size and the wallop it packs makes it ideally suited for use in small venues such as bars, and it may also be used as an electric guitar amplification system.